Santa Now Using Predictive Analytics

It seems as though there is no stopping the advance of big data and the use of predictive analytics in all facets of life, as IBM has now exclusively revealed that even Santa is getting in on the act!

Saint Nick has apparently turned to big data in order to maximise the efficiency of his operations and cut down on the amount of mail which he receives each year.  In his own words – “receiving tens of millions of regular mail letters, emails and web forms adds to the complexity of our operations at the North Pole and it’s a business expense that I think we can eventually work to minimise.”


Due to recent advances in the available technology, Santa is now able to analyse which toys are trending and work to accurately match those toys to all the little girls and boys. Apparently this gives him and his team of elves a substantial head start on their annual work, as most of the letters they receive are typically mailed or submitted within a few weeks or even days of Christmas, creating unsuitable logjams and logistical chaos.

Speaking to IBM’s Graeme Noseworthy in an exclusive interview, Santa revealed how he utilises analytics to further his mission to provide the world’s children with toys on Christmas Eve:

“We start by gathering a vast amount of internal data from the igloos of actionable customer insights, annual product requests and naughty/nice behavioral data we’ve manually collected over hundreds of years and then we combine it with an even larger amount of external data from various social channels, 3rd party data sources, global retail partners and market research firms.santa_predictive_analytics_02

As you can imagine, this paints a pretty big picture.

At that point, the Elven Analysts in Santa’s Big Data Workshop can look at which variables are the most likely predictors. Once they know what to look for and how to look for it, they can accurately forecast demand for all sorts of items that are typically requested on Christmas. And those data models better be good, for goodness sake! HO HO HO!”

For the full interview with Santa, check out Graeme’s piece on IBM’s Big Data and Analytics Hub here.